The Senate bill passes 68-32. He now goes to the House.
The Senate passed a major investment bill on Tuesday, intended to counter China’s growing influence in the tech sector.
It marked a rare display of bipartisanship as 68 senators accepted the measure, which would invest more than $ 200 million directly into research and manufacturing of key technologies, including semiconductors.
One of the main opposition senators was Senator Mike Lee.
The Utah Republican said the bill, which 32 GOP senators opposed, takes a page from China “by diverting research and development to the federal level and crowding out private incentives that bring ideas successful in the market. It is a flawed and ultimately stupid strategy. “
Senator Mitt Romney, his Republican colleague from Utah, was on the other side, saying this bill would benefit the nation.
“We must unite with our allies and the free nations of the world if we are to be successful in our efforts to counter China,” Romney said, “and I applaud the Senate for taking an important step in the right direction. this.”
Legislation has been a priority for the Senate Majority Leader Chuck schumer, which pushed the bill through committee debates and a lengthy amendment process. Now he goes to the House. President Joe Biden supports the legislation.
“The ambitions of this legislation are great, but the principle is simple,” said Schumer, DN.Y. “If we want American workers and American businesses to continue to rule the world, the federal government must invest in science, basic research and innovation, just as we did decades after World War II.
The bill proposes $ 50 billion to subsidize the manufacture of semiconductors needed for computers, phones, cars and more. It creates a new direction of technology and innovation and gives it $ 29 billion to create 10 focus areas, such as artificial intelligence.
It would send billions to university technology centers and create regional hubs. It would also provide money to boost the creation of a 5G wireless network.
To confront China directly, the bill creates a federal task force to examine the manipulation of that nation’s market.
The bill includes a series of amendments drafted by Romney, including a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing due to human rights violations.
Lee said he was not against increasing the country’s investment in technology and research, but that the legislation “is going about it the wrong way, trying to beat China at its own game.”
He complains that the bill “picks winners and losers in the industry, creating artificial demand for inefficient technologies.”
Lee argues that what Congress should be doing is quite the opposite. “Instead of curbing innovation and competition, we should decentralize power and uphold trust in the private sector.